Hey guys, I am definitely coming here looking for advice on my new gaming computer build, especially since I am new to building computers. I've done a lot of research, and there's a few things I still have questions about. So to start, here is the current build I have in mind:
Motherboard: ? Processor: Intel Quad Core i5 2500-K, overclocked to 4.4gHz Here CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 Liquid Cooler Here Graphics card: nVidia GTX 560ti Here RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance Blu DDR3 1600mHz Here Storage: Intel 320 series 120GB SSD Here PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series 750w Here Sound card: ?
Approximate Purchase Date: Within two weeks.
Budget Range: My budget is roughly $1,000, can go a little over if need be.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming will be my primary use, particularly online games like SW:TOR and perhaps BF3.
Parts Not Required: Case (Full size), monitor (24inch LCD Samsung HD 1080p), mouse and keyboard.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, Newegg, or TigerDirect. Whichever have the part(s) I need for the lowest price after taxes and shipping (I am an Amazon Prime member, so free shipping there if the parts are eligible).
Country: United States, specifically in California.
Parts Preferences: No particular preference, am more concerned about performance. I am choosing to go with an Intel processor and nVidia graphics card.
SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but not immediately. Will purchase another graphics card down the road.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: My main concern is finding a good quality motherboard and a decent soundcard that won't destroy my budget. In the future I do plan on getting another GTX 560ti card for SLI and am also planning on upgrading to 16GB of RAM, however, that is not tied in to my current budget. So, which motherboard and soundcard would you recommend, and do you have any other suggestions? Also, the monitor I chose I just ordered since it was on sale for $199 here. I figured it was a good deal for what I was getting. If you have any other monitor recommendations as well, I'm open to them.
Those prices are all too high for those parts. The i5-2500K is $200-209 at Newegg, That cooler is way more than you need for a mere 4.4GHz overclock, Nvidia cards are pretty much all overpriced by at least a little and that card is more than a little, That RAM kit is also pretty overpriced.
I realize you might refuse a Radeon card but for the same price you could get two Radeon 6850s in Crossfire, more than 50% faster than the GTX 560 ti. Since you will be probably want to game at 1080p because that is your monitor's resolution and you probably want to be able to ramp up the other settings but still enjoy a flawless frame rate I recommend two Radeon 6850s because a single GTX 560 ti or a Radeon 6950 (similar price to that GTX 560 ti but also better performance, just not as much as two 6850s) can't do that in some games.
If possible it is best not to use a monitor at a resolution other than it's recommended resolution because the picture quality will be worse at different resolutions besides those that are an even fraction of the monitors resolution. For 1080p that would be 960x540, not a real resolution so 1080p it is.
You could get the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for under $35 and it will get you to 4.4GHz easy.
With the money you would save by getting the i5-2500K at Newegg.com, the Evo cooler from Newegg.com, and a cheaper RAM kit from Newegg.com you could get two Radeon 6870s instead of two 6850s without spending more money than you would be by getting your current parts.
A good motherboard for a 4.4GHz overclock should only cost you around $100-140. Good brands for motherboards include Gigabyte, Asus, and ASRock.
More important than brand alone is looking at the reviews of each motherboard you consider buying. Watch out for boards with less than an average review of 4/5 and even among those 4/5 boards also read the reviews. If you see several reports of the same problems like a lot of DOA boards (more than 4 for every 60 or 70 reviews), certain parts not working, and catching fire (not a joke), etc, then you might want to skip that board. Here is a great board with a reasonable price:
A few DOA reviews are okay because hey, stuff happens occasionally. If you can't find a board with the best reviews then the next best thing to look for is one where the manufacture replied to the bad reviews with information on how to solve their problem(s). A watchful manufacture will help you get through potential problems and often replaces defective parts for free. This is all true for all products, not just motherboards.
Sound cards are kinda unnecessary. Yes, they usually offer better sound quality then the on-board sound of most motherboards (some motherboards have high quality audio) but on-board audio is usually good enough nowadays. I haven't used a sound card in a long time because of the good quality that on-board now has.
Thanks for the reply, a lot of great info there. That motherboard definitely seems like a great option, and I'll save a lot of money by going with the Radeon cards. I do have a couple questions however...
1. When the new Radeon cards start hitting the market, will the current models drop in price?
2. It looks like the $219.99 price for the Intel i5 Quad Core 2500k with the $15 off promo code is ending tomorrow, and for me after tax with the discount, the total is $219.85, should I take advantage of this now or will I be able to get it at this price in the next two weeks?
1. The current models undoubtedly will drop in price somewhat but probably not by a large amount.
2. You might get it for the same price, you might not. If you don't it isn't a huge amount of money but you might want to take advantage of it now if you can to save that few bucks without skimping on something.